Conversion and Ghar-vapsi: My Initial reflection

Conversion and Ghar-vapsi: My Initial reflection

We are hearing a lot of hue and cry about conversion, antI-conversion and re-conversion. The ongoing debate is that conversion should stop. If it does not stop rules will be framed or force will be used to stop conversion. Let us examine some basic truths that come out of this conversion debate.

Conversion is inevitable:

Change and conversion is inevitable. Worldundergoes change and get converted into new shape in every other second. The world we see is not the same that we saw few years back. Is it bad? Given an option, people opt for conversion. A person havinga bike converts his mode of transport to a car when he can afford for it and feels the need for a conversion. He can either hold on to a philosophy of contentment and retain biking or can have a more comfortable philosophy and can convert his mode of transport. When a person gets a responsible position in government or a political party, his whole life style gets converted. No party – even the ones against conversion are no exception. Even ordinary people who migrate from one part to another gets themselves converted to a new place’s life style. Sometimes this conversion is thrust upon, sometimes accepted willingly.

Why does one get converted:

When a person wishes to convert, he eitheris dissatisfied with the existing system or wants to adopt a new set of philosophies, life style and principles. Some may convert even for getting some benefit. But such opportunists who convert may not be very loyal to the principles, philosophizes and ideologies of the converted way of life. They may not even have problem in converting themselves again to some otherparty for some gains as and when the opportunity knocks. But willful conversion is different from forced conversion. Why do many give up their lives when they werethreatened? Why did not they compromise even when faced with severe persecution and threats?

Conversion by Hinduism:

Hindus show that Muslims and Christians are the ones who convert. When I go to some parts of tribal villages of Tamil Nadu,Andra, etc I find people worshiping gods other than Hinduism but calling them as Hindus. Their gods mostly are based on their village tradition. Mahabarata, Ramayana, Upanishads are alien stories to them. Then why do they call themselves Hindus? Did they too undergo some kind ofconversion somewhere in the history? Since we have history from the perspectiveof the influential can this conversion be ruler out?Who can claim to be original?Today we live in a globe with different religions. At one point of time in history there should have been one religion and even before that no religion. Religion as an ideology might have developed over the years. Can’t it be? Beginning of human existence should have been the origin of all. If any “ghar vapshi” should take place it should take place to respect human beings’worth and grand them their right. That is a real ghar vapsi. If we know history only from one perspective and only from a particular period of time, we should not give a call about “ghar vapsi”

More serious problems raised by conversion debate:

Willingnes to conversion also shows the need for a better alternative for the one who wishes to convert. When a conversion happens we should not ask the question “how to bring back the convert”, but introspect on a more serious question “why did they get converted?”. Instead of alleging false and superficial accusation, the losing party should think of restructuring so that it can retain. Deep questions should be asked from sociological, ideological and practical point of view.

A note on Christian conversion:

Before commenting on Christian conversion of non- Christian, let me make it very clear that a Christian can never give birth to a Christian. They give birth only to ordinary human beings. They can either choose to be Christian or not. Every new generation born in Christian families have to under go conversion.

Christians are often told that they lure people by money. But Christians empty themselves and their pockets when they see a need. Because of the love shown to them by Jesus Christ by giving Himself completely and His teaching to love everyone, charity becomes a part of Christian living. So when they find a need for hospital they will not stop from emptying their pockets for a social cause. What do you expect from a Christian? Not to respond at the time of need? By the mean time when some of those benefited by this upliftment gets to hear about this new teaching, he may wish to accept this self giving ideology. What is wrong in him? Why did the existing community wait till a Christian community empty its pocket? Why did it not think of such activities? Christianity went through different phase of reformation. Why not other religions who cry about conversion go through reformation? Why use force? Why use influence? Why politicize it?If there is weakness in you why do you want to invent a problem to hide your weakness? Why don’t you dare to change yourself? Why threaten people ?Why fight against conversion? Conversion was a part of history and it will have to be

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Commemorating Diwali as an Indian Christian

Commemorating Diwali as an Indian Christian

 “Commemorating Diwali as a Christan?”, sounds strange???

Well. As a Christian I am equally enthusiastic to commemorate the festival Diwali. I believe that every Indian Christian (or any Christian for that matter) can retrospect on these themes of the festival when their Indian Hindus friends celebrate Diwali.

I grew up in my village in Kanykumari along with my Hindu and Christian neighbours and relatives. Diwali for us was more of a social celebration than a religious one. I am privileged to live in India where I can learn and understand the perspectives of people following different religion. During every festival I try to study its background and try to relate it with Bible and grapple to find how it appeals to me as a Christian.

Today it is time for me to reflect on Diwali. There are lot of narratives revolving around Diwali. Commenting on different ways people celeberate diwali, reporter Ankit Mehara writes to international Business times,

Owing to India’s cultural diversity, the festival gets a distinct regional touch in different parts of the country. In north India, people celebrate Diwali to mark the victory of Lord Ram over demon King Ravana and his return to Ayodhya with his wife Sita and brother Lakhsman after 14 years of exile… In the south, the festival is called Deepavali and marks the defeat of demon Narakasura. During Diwali, Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi are worshipped. The festival also holds a special importance to farmers across the country. Diwali marks the end of the harvest season, which is why the farmers celebrate it1.

Swami Chidanand Saraswati ,who conceived the idea of and laying the foundation for the 11-volume Encyclopedia of Hinduism, talks about Diwali his blog 2 as:

The time of Diwali is one of the most festive and beautiful times of the year. Diwali literally means a “Row of Lights.” …It is the darkest night of the darkest period, yet it is a celebration of light! Diwali is heralded as the triumph of good over evil”.

He also mentions about some of the important themes of diwali like the celebration of light, the triumph of good over evil, of righteousness over treachery, of truth over falsehood, and of light over darkness, a fresh start and worship of Maha Lakshmi (prayer for prosperity). We can find parallel Christian theme for most of them in the Holy Bible as well.

Though I can elaborate on each theme, this year I would like to dwell on the theme of celebration of light from the Bible. I am excited to know how “celeberation of light” can be very much Christian as well. The very first book of The Holy Bible has a mention about Light:

“And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.

And God saw that the light was good”. 3

Even the Bible ends with a beautiful declaration about the light. Talking about the new heaven and earth Bible says in the last chapter:

And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever”. 4

The declaration about light by Jesus is simply incredible for me. He claimed

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” 5

I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. ” 6

 Having declared himself as the Light of the world, He gave a higher responsibility to His followers. He called them as Jagdeep (Light of the World)

“You are the light of the world.” 7

 Christians are encouraged to walk in the light

for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light ”. 8

 Yes. diwali is definitely important for me as a Christian. As my friends and neighbours light crackers, I have to introspect myself how am I reflecting Christ’s expectation of being the light of the world! Christian community should think of different ways of being light of the world in these days of darkness.

If the Christian community is the light of the world in Indian context, how is it reflecting it in politics, higher education, media, judiciary, social involvement, policy making, civil service and so on. We Christians were quite successful in being the “light of the world” in terms of proclaiming the good news of light and being light in the area of school education and providing medical facility. What about other areas??? Now its time for us to enlarge our diwali. What step we can take to be the Diwali in all spheres of life?

3Genesis 1:4

4Revelation of John 22:5

5 John 8:12

6John 12:46

7Matthew 5:14

8Ephesians 5:8


Revealing God in Workplace


Bible text:

Slaves are to be submissive to their own mastersin everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative,not pilfering,but showing all good faith,so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior”. [Titus 2: 9,10]


Slaves in context:

Slavery was an unquestioned institution in the first century. At that time, slaves were found in all professions. W.L. Westermann writes,

The institution of slavery was a fact of Mediterranean economic life so completely accepted as a part of the labour structure of the time that one cannot correctly speak of the slave “problem” in antiquity. This unquestioning acceptance of the slave system explains why Plato in his plan of the good life as depicted in The Republic did not need to mention the slave class. It was simply there.

[W.L. Westermann.The Slave Systems of Greek and Roman Antiquity(The American Philosophical Society, 1955) p.215. Cited in James M.Rochford, The Bible and Slvaery, Evidence Unseen, <> (Accessed date: 3 March, 2014)]

End result expected from a slave:

in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

Through each and every action the master may see how this slave is living a redeemed life in Christ

submissive to their own masters in everything

Probably in the then context, this is the job and structure of the then slaves. Whereas in other passages Bible does says about freedom for slaves as well.

20 Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. 21 Were you a bondservant[ d] when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) 22 For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ. 23 You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants[ e] of men. “ I Cor 7:20-23

now the question to ponder is “ can an employee agree to the injustice done to him?”.

Here we face the difficulty of seeing both the verses that talk about justice and submission to authorities in tension.

For instance, if the head of the department asks his teacher (who is a believer) to pass a student who has not attended the class and who has performed extremely bad in his exam, what should be his response?

In today’s understanding of world with lot of empowerment to justice and right to information, the context we are living is not as it was in Paul’s time. At this point the teacher should show God of justice (Amos 5:24) through his evaluation and let the student fail. Even though this is a tough call to the believing teacher with all question of fired from job, this should be the response from teacher Biblically.

they are to be well-pleasing:

In today’s context this implies each person fulfilling his duties to the great extent so that he may be well appreciated by his supervisors. May be this is the automatci outcome if we do everything as we do to the Lord as ecpressed in Colo 3:23

not argumentative:

The role of a prophet as we see in the Bible is that of argumentative nature. But here we find an instance where Paul asks the slave not to be argumentative or not to contradict. How do we see the two sides in perspective? Should we also hold on to this principle in times when we see right to information and more emphasis on justice?

Well. This aspect should be seen alongside of other quality mentioned as “ showing all good faith”, “ not pilfrering” (stealing) and “well pleasing”. Probably if an employee who is always into doing good things and is excellent in his job, contradicts the employer there is possibility the employeer rethink.

not pilfering:

This is one of the basic principles God has revealed in Mosaic law itself. Can a teacher bring home the pen or pencil that is kept for official use? What is our conviction about pirated softwares or music?

but showing all good faith:

A believing employer should be a faithful person to his boss. He has to be faithful even in little things. In a times when people struggle to find faithful people how much we adorning the doctrine of God will become obvious when we remain as faithful people?

Reflection Questions:

  1. In today’s new paper we have a news item about junior doctors going on strike in Lucknow. What will be your response if you were a junior doctor there? (

  2. We see a lot of election activities taking place. How do we discern the ones who will be faithful and will not steal?

  3. What challenge do we see in your work place?

  4. How can you show Christ in your workplace?


Why Men Fight

Why Men Fight

How wonderful the plants are?

Red flower in a plant with green leaves

Nest to it is a plant with yellow flower

Are they not expressing your love to all kinds?

God you created men in different kind

With yellow, black, brown, and red skin.

Are you, Lord, the one who created this mankind

and plants that spread sweet fragrance?

Oh God! Plants are of different kinds.

Do they fight with each other?

But men with differences fight. Why?

What is wrong with man? What is special with plants?

Father, My heavenly Father….

Help me to be like plants

Help our mankind to live in harmony

Exhibiting fragrance and beauty forever


நீ விசுவாசித்தால் !

நீ விசுவாசித்தால் ! is a Tamil article on faith. Please click the following link to access the article. This article is written by my wife Selin and got published in Tharisana Sudar magazine, Jan 2014 issue.

click the following link to access the article: